More Women Accuse Harvey Weinstein Of Sexual Harassment

Oct 11, 2017
Originally published on October 11, 2017 8:43 am
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

When allegations of sexual harassment first surfaced about film producer Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood responded with near silence, a silence that's now over. Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Mira Sorvino, among others, have publicly accused the powerful producer. And a warning, there is explicit material in the next two minutes. Here's NPR's Mandalit del Barco.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Most of the incidents occurred when the women were early in their careers. Actress and screenwriter Louisette Geiss told reporters she met Harvey Weinstein at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008. At his office next to his hotel room, Geiss says they talked about the film she was pitching. Then he excused himself to go to the bathroom.

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LOUISETTE GEISS: He returned in nothing but a robe with the front open, and he was buck naked.

DEL BARCO: Geiss says when she tried to leave, Weinstein grabbed her arm and began making promises.

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GEISS: That I could get a three-picture deal and that he would greenlight my script, but I had to watch him masturbate.

DEL BARCO: Geiss says she was afraid of Weinstein, one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. He produced Oscar-winning films such as "Shakespeare In Love" and "Pulp Fiction." Over decades, Weinstein allegedly intimidated and coerced women. Several accuse him of rape. A New Yorker story published yesterday included a recording from a New York police sting operation in 2015. Weinstein is heard trying to lure Italian actress and model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez into a hotel room.

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HARVEY WEINSTEIN: Please come in. I'm everything. I'm a famous guy.

AMBRA BATTILANA GUTIERREZ: I'm feeling very uncomfortable right now.

WEINSTEIN: Please come in now.

DEL BARCO: Like a number of other women, Gutierrez reached a settlement with Weinstein and reportedly signed a non-disclosure agreement. Kirsten Schaffer, who heads the group Women In Film, says Weinstein is an extreme case, but he may not be the only one in Hollywood.

KIRSTEN SCHAFFER: I don't think there's, like, a secret club of, you know, 12 guys who have all done what Harvey's done. But I do think we have and will continue to find it kind of sprinkled throughout the industry.

DEL BARCO: Shaffer says Hollywood's casting couch culture will only change with more women in power in the industry. In a statement last night Weinstein Company's board denied any knowledge of his conduct. Meanwhile the University of Southern California announced it's rejecting $5 million Weinstein pledged for women filmmakers, and his wife told People magazine that she's leaving him. Mandalit del Barco, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.